Azov sea satellite image
Ukraine has announced that shipping traffic from Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov is once again moving through the Kerch Strait to the Black Sea; Russia has at least partially lifted the blockade for commercial vessels.
Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan, who accused Russia last week of blocking Ukrainian cargo trying to pass through the strait, said Tuesday that the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol have been “partially unblocked” thanks to a “stern international response,” reported Associated Press.
“Berdyansk and Mariupol are partially unlocked…Vessels make their way to the entrance and exit through the Kerch Strait toward Ukrainian ports,” Omelyan announced.
The minister said that ships navigating through the Kerch Strait to and from Ukrainian ports “are stopped and inspected by Russia as before, but the traffic has been partially restored,” reported RFERL.
U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May called the incident an ‘act of aggression’ today in the British parliament, and promised to announce additional sanctions against the Russian Federation with the European Union.
Russia hit back with a firm rebuttal.
“We cannot accept these accusations. It’s well-known that on November 25 the Ukrainian Navy’s vessels blatantly violated the international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and also the rules of peaceful passage in Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea…These illegal steps forced the Russian border guards to use force, and thanks to their restraint and high professionalism deaths were prevented,” declared the Russian embassy in London, reported Russian state news agency TASS.